Friday, December 30, 2005

I don't want to go home. If I had it my way, I wouldn't want to spend a single festival/holiday at home.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The two Paks were happy to see me, but in the poor lighting conditions in their tent i couldn't really make out their faces.. but I think one of them had significantly more white hair this time.

Brought them some food items the next day. As I approached the tent, I realised that one of them was playing the radio, tuned into a Singaporean Malay language station. So he wasn't lying, after all, they did tune in to listen about Singapore after meeting me. It was really quite bizarre listening to Taufik being interviewed while sitting there.

I met up with Iskandar, a translator I met during our last trip, and I told him over dinner how stupid I felt to mull over the Ex while being surrounded by people who had much worthier things to mull over. I mean, I would take a pill if I could. And in the middle of my self-abusing rant, he just looked puzzled and said quite curiously, "But... you're only human."


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Cats Are Still Here.

At the IFRC camp surfing wirelessly. Nothing much has changed.

I'm so predictable.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Birthday, Schmirthday

"The important thing is that I kept up my special birthday tradition of gut-wrenching misery and horror." - Buffy, Helpless, S3

Erm. Not quite accurate, of course. I refer only to the fact that its 1:36 AM and I fly off at 8:40 AM and I am about to start packing.

Feel free to mock me!

See you soon.

No shit, Sherlock.


Originally uploaded by elsija.
The (incomplete) set is up.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

In the (seemingly) never-ending quest in finding out who I am, and what I like, and what's my calling etc etc, I kinda realised yesterday photography for aesthetic reasons doesn't quite do it for me.

Of course, this is an entirely personal thing, since we all find meanings in different things.

But I realised, after looking a lot of online photo galleries, and my own things (all the cat stuff haa) that I just don't feel anything. Pretty is not good enough.

And its funny, because for once I was right about myself. I always told people that I wanted to do documentary photography, that it was my ideal and dream. But I figured, hey hell what do I know I haven't tried much.

Hm wait. I still haven't. But well, at least I'm one step surer of it.

I don't care if I managed to concoct a great set-up pose, or a great moment when this pigeon landed on an ashtray in the middle of a red room or whatever.

I think not doing serious work for a while made me realise something was missing from my photographs.

Fire Walking - Tears

I know its terrible quality (PH DAMN YOUR CAMERA), not exactly the ideal angle, not exactly the best composition or lighting. But so what. This is what I want to do.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I don't know how else to put this, but I'm going back to Meulaboh.

I'll be gone from the 20th to probably 27th, taking photos of whatever goes on there during the one-year anniversary for Mercy Relief.

There's a lot of things swimming in my head now, but nothing tangible enough to express. I've gone from overjoyed to extreme nervousness/anxiety to guilt and confusion - my head's quite fucked up now.

What I do know for sure, is that I'm beyond-words grateful. To the person who offered the lobang, to the people who have been happy for me, to the pix desk people who had every right to been as nasty as they wanted to but didn't, to Liwei who really has been so nice about the whole situation.

I really don't know what I've done in my past life to deserve all this luck.

I know of more deserving people out there who don't get quite as many breaks as I do. Why do I get so many chances in life? It makes me get complacent sometimes, and yet I'm always constantly aware.

Its the reason why I feel guilty for ever feeling down or sad. Why I only whine to a select few people who understand me because I don't think others will tolerate it since I have nothing to whine about. Why I feel so ridiculous mulling over an ex.

Once, in Bangladesh, when I was feeling less-than-happy, I forced myself to sit down and write out all the blessings I could think off. I don't remember how long the list got, but I think I made the point to myself.

I try really hard to have an attitude befitting of my life, but sometimes I fail. Ok fine, a lot of the times, I fail.

I don't know what people will think about this, but I've already spoken in person to those who mattered and I (hope) know what they think, so that's all I care about.

This trip means more to me than I can explain. And I just want to say again that I'm very very grateful.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Ladies and gents, PMS is hitting real bad this month.

Take care y'all.

Here's a little treat:

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quote of the day on MSN:

"Anyway, I have to clear the studio of inflatable sex toys now, they've got to use it for something else." - Lars

I hope I will be around on the day they fill the ST studio with inflatable sex toys.

The rest of the fire-walking photos are up. Couldn't do a lot with post-editing, because of the fantastic D1 quality, and plus I forgot to fix the white balance before shooting, and colour correcting this kind of intense tungsten lighting is way out of my photoshopping capabilities. So ya, everything is YELLOW.

I want to go Haw Par Villa to take photos, inspired by my APJ classmate who did an essay on the place. Beautiful photos. Any interested people? Another APJ-orgy of sorts?

Everynight I am tempted to take Sedil, Bangladesh's version of Valium (same ingredient), which I bought to use on Kitty during the flight back. I read the information sheet, I know how much I can take etc etc.

I know it's not right to rely on it as a sleeping pill, but I'm sick and tired of dreaming and waking up feeling as if I never slept at all, and this pill really does knock me out. Or maybe its just a psychological thing.

NO i'm NOT depressed, I've only taken maybe 5 since I came back in June so i'm not addicted or anything. Plus I only have a couple left, should "save up".

I've no idea how much Valium costs in Singapore, but I can assure you it was dirt cheap in Bangladesh, and I bought it at the drug store without a prescription. Apparently, everyone there has taken it at some time or other. Hm.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Push back!

Would like to pledge my undying support for Tym's PUSH BACK campaign.

Because idiots who do not understand 'if i don't get off, you don't get in' really ought to just shove it.

And here I'd like to appeal to everyone with a handy camera, to anticipate and position yourself when you're about to get off and SNAP a picture of the ensuing chaos in all its fugly glory.

I noticed that the ratio of people getting off : getting on always tends to be 1:2 because there's only be a single file of people squeezing off in the middle, flanked by idiots on either side who think they're SO skinny as to be able to nudge their way in without imposing on others.

In all honesty, I don't think that these people are stupid. I think some magical wave of ignorance lives at the entrance of every MRT station and is set in motion when the number of people near it exceeds 10, and it leaps off from the top of the door into the minds of the hapless people outside, numbing their self-consciousness and turning them into temporary zombies whose sole purpose is repeated like a bad record in their heads.. must get in, must get in, must get in....

Fight the zombies! PUSH BACK.

(NEXT UP: MOVE IN - How to use non-verbal cues and body language to tell the standing people on the bus that their ass is NOT skinny and the centre aisle is NOT wide enough for three and how there is NO ghost at the back of the bus so really its quite safe to move in.)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The PR effect

I don't know if my letter below makes sense, because I typed it out in a hurry. But I hope they print it.

But if you guys would be so kind as to look at the Forum today (Sat), Ms Elaine Pong has gotten herself into a bit of a pickle. At least with me lah.

The "stray dog problem is complex and multifactorial" WHAT THE FUCK? Please lah, shoot me if I end up in PR. Wait, no need, I'll shoot myself.

Forum Editor,

I write in response to Ms Elaine Pong's letter, "Not practical to replace culling with sterilisation" (ST, Dec 10).

I would just like to ask about the effectiveness of the AVA's lethal-sounding "multi-pronged" approach over these years. If culling is practical and impossible to remove as one of the "prongs", the assumption is that it makes such a great difference that without it the stray animal population would be out of control.

If so, the practicality and effectiveness of culling would surely have yielded some results after so many years of its implementation.

And if it had indeed been successful, then I would not be wrong to assume that the stray animal population is now controllable, and we can now make do without killing/culling these animals, and instead direct our efforts towards the arguably more humane re-homing and steralisation methods.

I hope I do not wrongly assume that the AVA would be eager to stop having to kill these animals.

However, if the AVA cannot do away with culling because the animal population is still not under control, then perhaps it is a bit of a problem to claim that your current method is "practical" and effective. Changing strategies, and having the support of passionate and rather fervant animal-lovers is surely another viable path?

Surely, the AVA does not wish to have to continue answering the public's questions on why they are culling animals 10, 20 years from now.

Jessica Lim

Its always very heartbreaking to find out another cat has gone missing overnight.

And even more so when you find out that the people responsible for their deaths are those who actually do love cats, just that they're a bit stupid and don't clean up or leave such a horrible mess that it makes residents complain.

Stupid, stupid.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Well, ph FINALLY passed me my photos from the fire walking all-nighter photography stint so I've uploaded a bit of the stuff. And he saw THE cat, so please ask him how damn cute it is.

I'm constantly astounded by the number of bruises that appear on me without me realising it. Am I a thick-skinned klutz? Is this a disease? Why do I bruise so much? Is it the job?

I had two assignments today, one at a yacht club facing the sea, and the other at a newly opened spa. So my working mood was totally ruined because I felt I was on some kind of holiday.

Man, I miss the sea. Even though it frightens me, and I'd never have the guts to go sailing alone.

And I tried to picture myself as one of those people with large amounts of disposable cash spending $300 on a spa thing. And as much as I'd like to think be a simple and unmaterialistic person, I'm not going to be such an idiot to pretend that I don't like to be pampered. For free lah, maybe.

Fire Walking

Typically not very comfortable with wide, cluttered shots, but I like this one for some reason. See the set! Even though its not complete.. i'll finish it when it isn't a struggle to keep my eyes open.

Have a nice day everyone.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cheryl Tan 1974-2005

I've just returned from the cremation ceremony of a relative, and I am tired because I didn't sleep and was doing the traditional chinese shou ye (nightwatch).

There's nothing I can say that people wouldn't already know. Yes it was sad, no parent should have to bury their own child, I wonder if someone will look into whether the hospital was negligent, but we're all very lucky to have a huge family that rallies round with playing cards and nonsense talk when its needed the most.

But, at the risk of writing something politically incorrect due to my current state of irritability, I would like to say that I did not appreciate being preached/evangelised to during the wake last night, and before the cremation this morning.

I respect all religions, I respect that she was a Christian, and a devout one at that. I do not mind listening to hymns and prayers and the pastor/priest telling us that she's happy in the safe hands of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And in all likelihood, this is what Mei Mei would have wanted anyway, and that's fine.

So then, I don't know why I bristled during their speeches. I know that this religion is all about putting God above everything else. But I thought we were supposed to be remembering Cheryl, and not the God she worshipped. I wondered why 80% of their speeches revoled around how Jesus sacrificed himself, how God is the only way, how those who embrace him need not fear death, and how he's the answer to the meaning of life etc etc... What about Cheryl? But I suppose, its all the same to them anyway. Doing the work of God, and all that.

Whatever makes her happy.

It could also be because I was being a bitch, and I did not like what I (subjectively) perceived to be smug look of know-it-allness on their faces and the tone of their voice. And how that lady constantly referred to her as "our late sister Cheryl". Yes, we get the idea. The word 'late' started to get very redundant after a while.

I'm very sorry for all this negative feelings Mei Mei, but just to make things clear, its not towards your God or your religion.

I wonder if I was supposed to dream about you that night. Why me, of all people? I was never particularly close to you. All your siblings had that puzzled look, as if wondering, why not in my dreams? Why hers? Or is it because I thought about you too much?

So many ways of looking at this. Please visit them too ok? I think they all want to see the same smile you showed me, it'd put them at ease.

Monday, December 05, 2005

My weekend.

Some self-explanatory, but not quite linked, photos from over the weekend:


Mom clocked 5:52 this year.

Terrifying conversation:
Mom: "No more, no more, please don't let me do this again next year."
Mom's friend: "Can lah! You retire, then your daughter takes over your place!"

You've got to be kidding.


The mandatory cat photo.

Just wanted to show off Kitty's tail. It'd win itself some awards at those fancy shmancy pet shows, I'm sure of it.


This is the kind of photo that can break a man's career. To be fair, he only looked like this for 0.1% of the time. Taken at Think Centre's forum for the upcoming Human Rights Day. Dismal turn out, even more dismal discussion. Seriously, other than the speakers, no one made a single intelligent point at all.


I actually filled in plenty of these quizzes/memes/lists things without posting them. But as ghim the birthday girl said.. keep the ball rolling!

Five snacks I enjoy:
(i'm not a snacking person so this is difficult)

grape-flavoured Fruitips
the round fish-ball cracker thingys
"original" potato chips
all fried items

Five songs I know by heart:
Raining on the Sky - Naked

The Space Between - DMB
Run, Baby, Run - Sheryl Crow
On that Street Where you Live - Nat King Cole version
Blower's Daughter - Damien Rice

Five things I would do with a million dollars:
buy a digital camera and a better Mac
send my mom to the Boston Marathon, and my Dad to an African safari
set up an animal shelter
send money to buy the two Paks and Sufia a house
buy my way into the National Geographic

Five favourite shows:

Five bad habits:
thinking too much
worrying too much
talking too much
sleeping late

Five biggest joys:
being with animals
early mornings (as the beginning of a day and not the end)
getting that one special photo
family dinners

Names you go by:

Parts of your heritage:
er... negri sembilanian??? punggolian??

Things that scare you:
false promises

Two everyday essentials:
food and water (nothing else is essential leh)

Five things you are wearing right now:
rubber band

a tired look, because this list is longer than expected

Two favourite bands/ musical artists:


Two things you want in a relationship:

Two truths:
I don't know myself very well
I don't read people very well

Two physical things that appeal:

Lean and toned physique

Four favourite hobbies:

watching entire seasons of sitcoms
sitting in wide open spaces without concrete in sight

Two things you want really badly:
for my FYP to be done and over with
for me to stop mulling over the Ex

Two places you want to go on vacation:
Any place where I can see whales (and zoos don't count)

Any other place where I can see any other animals (and zoos don't count)

Two things you want to do before you die:
Swim next to a whale/manta ray/shark
Go trekking on horseback alone

Two ways you are stereotypically a chick/guy
I talk/think/worry too much
I am emotional

Two things that you normally won't admit
Sometimes I'm nice just to make myself feel less guilty

Two things you are thinking about right now
Why I'm such a bitch for the reason stated above

How I really should stop doing that

Two stores you shop at:
I don't shop, so I can't answer this

Is it weird that I had to think very hard to answer a lot of these questions? Wah lau.